Insights: The Right Things Matter

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A new year is upon us, which means looking at what we want to accomplish in 2017.

However, I had a reminder today that while it’s great to look at what we want in the New Year, there are things that need to just be part of our lives year after year.

Let me explain by telling you a story.

I just bought a wonderful new mountain bike with full suspension. So much easier on the body. I also have a 26-year-old Mongoose bike, which only has a few gears. I enjoy riding it to the store or around the Back Bay here in Newport. I am always amazed at how lucky we are to have such an incredible nature reserve right in the middle of our city. How many cities can say that?

While riding along one of the paths, my gears locked up as sometimes they do. I got off my bike as three young serious looking riders on very fast road bikes went whizzing past me. Within seconds they stopped, and one of them rode back to ask if I needed help.

I was fine fixing the gears myself, however that might not have been the situation. I was touched by their consideration of all three of them to stop their ride, turn around and ask me if I needed help. There was no benefit for them.

Sometimes it is not even about helping others. I was at a restaurant in Tustin called Bonefish Grill and had a wonderful meal. I asked for the manager. As she approached our table I could tell she was ready for a complaint. After sharing my compliment, the manager took out a gift card and gave me a free entrée for my next meal. There was no need for her to do this, she went the extra mile because I took a moment to thank her.

This is another easy way to do the right thing and thank people when you appreciate something about them. Remember this not only makes them feel good but it makes you feel good too.

Lou Holtz, a former football player and coach, says he follows three rules: “Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.”

Inside we all know what the right thing is, that is actually the easy part. The harder part is actually doing it. It is easy to justify “why not,” but having integrity is doing the right thing. I often ask myself “what is the right thing,” and that is what I am committed to doing. Doing this actually leads us to be our best version of ourselves.

When we do the right thing and we are our best version, we are caring towards others.

It is easy to do simple acts of care on a daily basis. What a difference we can make in the world when we do these simple acts.

E very day on my walks, I have a commitment to picking up at least one piece of trash.  I could pick up more, but by being committed to one it makes it easier to accomplish the goal and motivates me to pick up more. But let’s say I just pick up that one piece, or stop and help someone once a month. All that makes a difference in the world.

So along with having goals and dreams for the New Year, don’t forget to being committed to doing the right thing and making a difference with small things daily. It will make a world of difference and a difference in the world.

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or [email protected].

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